India

Environmental Justice

Now Accepting Applications!

We’re building a community of “backpacktivists” that are socially, environmentally, and politically aware of their impact in the communities they travel to and live in. We work with our local partners on community-requested projects to uncover the intricacies of each place we go to.

From the majestic mountains of Uttarakhand to the urban jungle of Delhi, we’ll backpack through India to see firsthand how one of the most populous countries is tackling climate change and environmental justice. Get ready to explore the breathtaking beauty of the Himalaya while learning about environmental activism from local grassroots organizations and communities that are on the frontlines of building a more sustainable future!

Now Accepting Applications!

Currency:

2018 Fees + Community Contribution

$2,020 USD + $170 USD
$2,105 CAD + $175 CAD

September 1 – 15, 2018
August 12 – 26, 2018Applications Closed!
  • Explore the breathtaking beauty of the Himalaya while learning about environmentalism directly from Mother Earth herself, and the people who work collaboratively with her every day.
  • Experience the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s largest cities while learning how to “be the change” with our partners at Swechha in New Delhi.
  • Immerse yourself in community life and team up with a local environmental initiative to explore traditional South Asian perspectives and practices regarding the natural world.
  • From the majestic mountains of Uttarakhand to the urban jungle of Delhi, learn how one of the most populous countries is tackling climate change and environmental justice.
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Sample Itinerary

*This itinerary is based on our previous experience with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.

Orientation from Delhi to Anjanisain

Shortly after our arrivals at Indira Gandhi International Airport, we’ll kick start our orientation in the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s biggest cities. We’ll only get a little taste of this vast and varied metropolis before we’re hopping on trains and off to the hill state of Uttarakhand. After a day’s travel, we’ll arrive in the town of Anjanisain where, in the shadow of the Himalaya, we can drink in the calm and complete our orientation. We’ll play games, talk shop, and prepare ourselves for the mental, physical, and spiritual journey ahead.

Nature – India’s Oldest Guru!

Once we find our environmental bearings, we’ll follow them to one of two inspirational partners – Ashram Paryavaran Vidyalaya (APV) or Dharmalaya. APV is an “Environmental School” that plays host to a unique community using the power of nature’s classroom to promote environmental education and nurture mindful practice. Dharmalaya is an Indian charitable organization devoted to education and empowerment for compassionate living, with a practical focus on sustainable village development, contemplative service-learning, immersive ecotourism, and the preservation and adaptation of traditional wisdom.

They will help us explore traditional South Asian perspectives and practices regarding the natural world, better contextualizing environmental issues within Indian cultures while allowing us to unpack our own relationship with the environment in the process!

More than that, our time in this captivating landscape will also be enriched with a stay in the SBMA hostel, a cool social enterprise equally dedicated to making positive change in Uttarakhand. On some days, we’ll even journey out into the majestic hills of the Himalaya and meet more of the amazing people who live and work collaboratively with this powerful landscape every day!

Finding Sanctuary in Rishikesh

Next stop? We’re off for a quick visit in the city of Rishikesh! Arguably the world’s capital of yoga, and one of India’s holiest cities, Rishikesh will give us a little sanctuary along the banks of the Ganga river where we can kick back, relax, and take a deep breath before returning to the chaos of Delhi. We’ll wander the streets of one of India’s oldest backpacking destinations, take a little time to centre ourselves, or hike in the surrounding foothills. And of course, we’ll bask in the glow of floating candles during Aarti, a beautiful ritual where people gather at dusk to give thanks to Mother Ganga.

Extreme Environments in City of Djinns

Delhi is both an urban jungle and an environmental battleground! We’ll head back to the big city to see what environmentalism looks like at the political heart of India. In a place exploding with people, we’ll team up with one of the many local initiatives trying to tackle this massive environmental challenge.

Swechha is an ambitious youth-led organization that aspires to ‘be the change’ and make a visible difference to the physical and social environment that they live in. From small-scale community action to large-scale international advocacy, Swechha has their hands in all sorts of projects. Whether it’s waste management or social enterprise, we’ll lend them ours and learn how these innovative youth are leaving their footprint in the most positive ways possible.

Disorientation in Delhi

After a jam-packed two weeks, we’ll slow down for two days of “disorientation”. A staple of every OG program, this is an opportunity to relax, unpack, and reflect on our adventure. We’ll find a quiet corner outside of Delhi and celebrate new memories, new friendships, and new perspectives while inspiring each other to heed the lessons of India’s ancient traditions and modern challenges.

Finally, we’ll head back into town for the evening and enjoy the sunset with a rooftop meal in Paharganj. Then it’s off to the airport for some hug-filled farewells!

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What’s Included?

A comprehensive program itinerary and educational curriculum focused on the issues facing your specific region

Experienced and caring program leaders with you 24 hours a day

All lodging and accommodations throughout the program

Three local meals a day

All group tours, entrance fees, and excursions

All group transportation on the ground

Regular discussions and workshops to help you internalize and reflect on your experience

Support from OGHQ whenever you need it

Accommodations

With OG, you live like the locals. The SBMA hostel where we stay during our time with the APV School is part of the campus for an NGO supporting rural communities in and across all of Uttarakhand state. We’ll be staying in very basic accommodations there, but the proceeds from staying there go directly into supporting this important initiative. We’ll be staying in a large dorm room by night, and embarking on our adventure in the wilderness by day! In Rishikesh and Delhi, we’ll be staying at more backpacker-style hostels, which will still be reasonably basic, but always secure and with trusted hosts. Wherever we are, we’ll make it home in no time!

Meet Your Regional Director

In a span of 5 years, Adhila has endured the harsh weathers of the mighty Alps, the skin melting summers of Thar, military training in Austria, and a whole lot more. A lover of forests and joyful, silly things, Adhila considers India to be her complicated, chaotic, romantic partner – one who is difficult to understand even throughout an entire lifetime. She is passionate about the potential of travel for education and for building a peaceful world. She’s keen to explore this further through OG’s vision of creating a movement of committed backpacktivists!

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